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Huwebes, Agosto 20, 2020

BMP to Rep. Quimbo: Don't turn back the clock; Labor demands transition to single payer healthcare

Press Release
20 August 2020


The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) registered its opposition today to Rep. Stella Quimbo's HB 7429 which proposes to privatize the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC). The group instead asked the Marikina lawmaker to file a bill to facilitate the transition towards single payer healthcare. 

"We would like to remind Teacher Stella that the world is already transitioning towards fully-state funded healthcare systems. The privatization of Philhealth is an anachronistic move that will only further relegate us to developmental backwaters. Hospital care and outpatient services would be inaccessible to those who could not pay medical bills to private hospitals and could not afford costly insurance premiums to private health maintenance organizations or HMOs. Proof of this is the healthcare system in the United States," BMP president Ka Leody de Guzman said. 

"Kaunti lang ang may medical insurance sa anyo ng HMO sa ating mga kababayan para mayroong pampaospital kapag naaksidente o nagkasakit. Mahal kasi ang premium at mababa ang sweldo ng mga manggagawa. Kaya inuuna ang pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan bago ang balang araw at posibleng gastusin sa pagpapaospital," he added. 

The labor group added that some sectors, such as the BPO industry, have included medical insurance as part of its employee benefits.  However, they argued that such coverage is terminated once you are out of work, and it should be noted that regularization is not a practice of the business process outsourcing industry.

According to BMP the lack of medical insurance for workers is experienced by more industries such as manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and other services, who are more reliant on Philhealth than on private HMOs. Most products of private HMOs do not cater to senior citizens. 

"We are one with Rep. Stella Quimbo in seeking ways to reform the corruption-riddled state institution for health insurance. But the solution to the healthcare malaise caused by the abuse of the case rate system is to rollback the profit-oriented private healthcare sector. The proposal for Philhealth privatization would only worsen its present defects. People before profit! This could be done by increasing government ownership of hospitals or through its outright nationalization, and by instituting and implementing open and transparent regulatory measures for Philhealth transactions," de Guzman explained.

De Guzman noted that private sector may still be "engaged in a limited manner" in healthcare via service and management contracts, but the national government "must actively seek to own all tertiary hospitals" while local governments "should fully be capable of providing complete primary healthcare for free."

The BMP leader also asked Congress to take a look at the current move by the Spanish government to nationalize its hospitals, in a bid to coordinate better its response to the CoViD-19 pandemic.

"If Quimbo's proposal is approved, we can say goodbye to our commitments to the UN Declaration on Primary Health Care. Worse, we would give a free rein to private capital to profit from the misery of the ailing and unwell," de Guzman concluded. #

For reference, please contact: Leody De Guzman

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